List of destroyed heritage

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One of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, which were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001

This is a list of cultural-heritage sites that have been damaged or destroyed accidentally, deliberately, or by a natural disaster, sorted by country.

Cultural heritage can be subdivided into two main types—tangible and intangible heritage. The former includes built heritage such as religious buildings, museums, monuments, and archaeological sites, as well as movable heritage such as works of art and manuscripts. Intangible cultural heritage includes customs, music, fashion and other traditions within a particular culture.[1][2] This article mainly deals with the destruction of built heritage; the destruction of movable collectable heritage is dealt with in art destruction, whilst the destruction of movable industrial heritage remains almost totally ignored.

Deliberate and systematic destruction of cultural heritage, such as that carried out by ISIL, is regarded as a form of cultural genocide.[3][4]


  • During the Soviet invasion, large-scale looting occurred in various archaeological sites including Hadda, ancient site of Ai-Khanoum, the Buddhist monastery complex in Tepe Shortor which dates back to the 2nd century AD, and the National Kabul Museum. These sites were ransacked by various pillagers, including the pro-Russian government forces, destitute villagers, and the local crime rings. The National Museum of Afghanistan suffered the greatest damage, in which the systematic looting has plundered the museum collection and the adjacent Archaeological Institute. As a result, more than two thirds of one hundred thousand pieces of museum treasures and artifacts were lost or destroyed.[5]
  • A pair of 6th-century monumental statues known as the Buddhas of Bamiyan were dynamited by the Taliban in 2001, who had declared them heretical idols.


Ortiz Basualdo Palace circa 1910. Demolished in 1969.




  • Vienna's Cathedral of St. Stephen was severely damaged by fire in 1945, towards the end of the Second World War. Incendiary bombs and shelling had set the roof on fire, and the cathedral's original larch girders, said to be made from an entire forest of larches, were destroyed, as were the Rollinger choir stalls, carved in 1487. The building was rebuilt soon after the war.[11]


  • Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Azerbaijani authorities in the formerly Armenian-inhabited region of Nakhchivan ran a systematic campaign of eradicating the region's medieval Christian heritage due to the Anti-Armenian sentiment in Azerbaijan. An estimated 218 medieval churches, 5,840 khachkar cross-stones and 22,000 tombstones[12] were destroyed, with the final act of the destruction campaign taking place in December 2005 at the Armenian cemetery in Julfa.[13] Azerbaijan's government denies that Armenian or Christian monuments ever existed in the territory of Nakhchivan.[14]


  • At least 43 Shia mosques, including the ornate 400-year-old Amir Mohammed Braighi mosque, and many other religious structures were destroyed by the Bahraini government during the Bahraini uprising of 2011.



Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

Stari Most was destroyed by Croat forces in 1993 but was later rebuilt.
  • Through the course of the Bosnian War, countless sites of cultural and religious heritage were destroyed. Muslim heritage sites suffered the most, with 277 mosques and several other religious facilities, schools and institutions were destroyed by the authorities of the Republic of Srpska as a part of the ethnic cleansing campaign against the local Muslim populations. The most well known among them include Mehmed Pasha Kukavica Mosque, Arnaudija Mosque, and Ferhat Pasha Mosque. Substantial number of the mosques date back to the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian era. Roman Catholic sites also suffered with more than 50 churches being destroyed, which was associated with the killings of Bosnian Croats by the Bosnian Serbs.[16]
  • Parts of the old city of Mostar, including the Stari Most, were destroyed during the Bosnian War. The Stari Most has been rebuilt.


The main building of the National Museum of Brazil in 2011, before it was destroyed by a fire


Centre Block ablaze in 1916

Central America[edit]


  • Historical Famen Temple went through several times of destructions. Erected first during the Eastern Han dynasty (25–220), it was first destroyed during the years of the Northern Zhou dynasty (557–581). After being rebuilt, it was destroyed again by the earthquake during the Longqing's years (1567–1572) of the Ming dynasty. After another reconstruction, it was destroyed again during the Cultural Revolution. Present construction was completed in 1987.
  • The An Lushan Rebellion (755–763) which lasted for around 7 years, devastated the city of Chang'an, a historical capital of several ancient Chinese empires. The city was sacked and occupied several times by the rebels who looted and demolished the buildings, whose materials were reused to build the subsequent capital city of Luoyang. Chang'an never recovered after this obliteration, and it was followed by the decline of the Tang dynasty.
  • During the systematic persecution of Buddhists in 845 AD by the Taoist Emperor Wuzong of Tang, more than 4,600 Buddhist temples were destroyed empirewide.[17]
  • In 955, Emperor Shizong of the Later Zhou ordered the systematic destruction of Buddha statues due to the need of copper to mint coins. The ordinance had led to the destruction of 3,336 of China's 6,030 Buddhist temples.[18]
  • In 1739, the Pagoda of Chengtian Temple was destroyed after a large earthquake hitting the city of Yinchuan. The pagoda was subsequently restored in 1820.
  • The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, which dates back to the 15th century, was destroyed during the course of the Taiping Rebellion (1850–1864). A modern life size replica was built in 2015.
  • In 1860, much of the Old Summer Palace, a Qing-era imperial palace, was set fire, and systematically looted and plundered by the British and French forces. Some of the looted materials including the 3,600 year old treasures. The palace was later sacked again and completely destroyed by the Eight-Nation Alliance when they invaded Beijing.
  • Beijing city fortifications which date back to the 15th–16th century were destroyed through the course of the decline of the Qing dynasty in the late-19th century to the early 20th-century. It was severely damaged during the Boxer Rebellion (1898–1901) with the gate towers and watchtowers destroyed, and the British troops tearing down much of the outer city walls. After the collapse of the Qing, the fortifications were gradually dismantled due to variety of reasons. Today, nothing of the Outer City remains intact.
  • During the early 20th century, around 1921 Buddhist murals at the Mogao Caves were damaged and vandalized by White Russian exiles.[19]
  • Buddhist murals at the Bezeklik Thousand Buddha Caves were damaged by local Muslim population. The eyes and mouths in particular were often gouged out. Pieces of murals were also broken off for use as fertilizer by the locals.[20][21]
  • During the Kumul Rebellion in Xinjiang in the 1930s, Buddhist murals were vandalized by Muslims.[22]
  • Yongdingmen, the former front gate of the outer city wall of the Beijing city fortifications which dates back to 1553, was demolished in the 1950s to make way for the new road system. It was rebuilt in 2005.
  • Gate of China in Beijing was demolished by the Chinese government in 1954 in order to make way for the expansion of Tiananmen Square.
  • A shrine dedicated to Wei Yan was destroyed by the Chinese government in 1968. A stone tablet which contained the record of his presence was lost after the demolition. The shrine was rebuilt in 1995.[23]
  • During the Cultural Revolution, many artifacts, monuments, and buildings belonging to the Four Olds were attacked and destroyed.
  • According to the anthropologist Robert E. Murowchick, a quarter million tombs have been raided since the 1990s to rob the antiquities which lay beneath them. Murowchick points out that growing demand for antiquities from both domestic and international markets have encouraged the tomb raiding in China.[26]
  • China's aggressive development has resulted in the destruction of more than 30,000 items listed by the state administration of cultural heritage, compiled from various archaeological and historic sites. One conservation campaigner tells that the rate of destruction is worse than during the Cultural Revolution. Destroyed heritage sites include the old town in Dinghai, the old town of Laoximen in Shanghai,[27] a centuries-old market street in Qianmen, and a section of the Great Wall of China.[28] Historical neighborhoods of Beijing and Nanjing were also razed.[29][30]
  • The construction of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River caused water levels to rise, destroying entire cities as well as many historical locations along the river.[31]
  • In 2016, the Chinese government ordered the demolition of historical housings in the Larung Gar Tibetan Buddhist institution.[32]
  • In 2016, the Chinese government has destroyed around 5,000 mosques in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang region, including the 70% of mosques in the township of Lenger, over the three months of campaign. It was conducted under the guise of public safety, although the locals deem it as a part of the systematic effort to subjugate the Uyghur populations who have been advocating for the independence of East Turkestan State.[33]


  • 450 churches and monasteries of the Serbian Orthodox Church were destroyed or damaged during the World War II by the Ustaše, specially in the regions of Dalmatia, Lika, Kordun, Banija and Slavonia.[34]
  • War damage of the Croatian War (1991–95) has been assessed on 2271 protected cultural monuments, with the damage cost being estimated at 407 million DM.[35] The largest numbers – 683 damaged cultural monuments – are located in the area of Dubrovnik and Neretva County. Most are situated in Dubrovnik itself.[36] The entire buildings and possessions of 481 Roman Catholic churches, several synagogues and several Serbian Orthodox churches were badly damaged or completely destroyed. Valuable inventories were looted from over 100 churches. The most drastic example of destruction of cultural monuments, art objects and artefacts took place in Vukovar. After the occupation of the devastated city by the Yugoslav Army and Serbian paramilitary forces, portable cultural property were removed from their shelters and museums in Vukovar to the museums and archives in Serbia.[35]

Czech Republic[edit]

  • The Old Town Hall in Prague was severely damaged by fire during the Prague uprising of 1945. The chamber where George of Poděbrady was elected King of Bohemia was devastated; the town hall's bell, the oldest in Bohemia, dating from 1313, was melted; and the city archives, comprising 70,000 volumes, as well as historically priceless manuscripts, were completely destroyed.[37]



Damage to the Pyramid of Menkaure



The remains of the Berlin Palace in 1950
  • Myriad historically and architecturally significant buildings were destroyed or severely damaged by World War II and the post-war period. Striking examples are palaces like Berlin Palace, Monbijou Palace, or City Palace, Potsdam and churches, such as Dresden Frauenkirche, Berlin Cathedral and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Several have been rebuilt since 1990 (including all those mentioned except the Monbijou Palace and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church).
  • The Paulinerkirche was a medieval church from 1231 in Leipzig. The church survived the war practically unscathed but was dynamited in 1968 during the communist regime of East Germany. After the reunification of Germany, a new building in a contemporary style, the Paulinum, was built on the site.
  • The building housing the Historical Archive of the City of Cologne collapsed on 3 March 2009 during the construction of an underground railway line.
  • The Church of St. Lambertus in Immerath was demolished on 9 January 2018 as part of the demolition of the entire village to make way for an expansion of the Garzweiler surface mine.[43] The church had been added to the list of heritage monuments in Erkelenz on 14 May 1985.[44]


  • The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was destroyed in the 226 BC Rhodes earthquake, and its remains were destroyed in the 7th century AD while Rhodes was under Arab rule. In December 2015, a group of European architects announced plans to build a modern Colossus where the original once stood.
  • The Statue of Zeus at Olympia, also a Wonder of the Ancient World, was destroyed in around the 5th century CE, although it is not known exactly when or how.
  • The Parthenon was extensively damaged in 1687, during the Great Turkish War (1683–1699). The Ottoman Turks fortified the Acropolis of Athens and used the Parthenon as a gunpowder magazine and a shelter for members of the local Turkish community. On 26 September a Venetian mortar round blew up the magazine, and the explosion blew out the building's central portion. About three hundred people were killed in the explosion, which caused fires that burned until the following day and consumed many homes. Parthenon was extensively and permanently damaged when Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin and ambassador to the Ottoman Empire (occupiers of Greece in the early 19th century) who admire the Parthenon's extensive collection of ancient marble sculptures; began extracting and expatriating them to Britain in 1801. The latter damage is still considered one of the most significant destructions of heritage in the history of the Parthenon.


  • Tikal Temple 33 was destroyed in the 1960s by archaeologists to uncover earlier phases of construction of the pyramid.






  • The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, are believed to have been destroyed sometime after the 1st century AD. Their existence is not confirmed by archaeology, and there have been suggestions that the gardens were purely mythical.
  • The Round City of Baghdad, the seat of the Abbasid caliph, was sacked by the Mongols led by Hulegu in 1258. Large section of the city as well as irrigation system and the House of Wisdom, a library and intellectual center, were destroyed. The city was attacked again by Tamerlane in 1401, leading to the almost complete destruction.
  • Several historical gates of Baghdad dating back to the 12th century were destroyed by the occupying British and Ottoman forces throughout the early-20th century and the World War I.
  • Since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, various archaeological sites and museums have been looted, including the ancient cities of Adab, Hatra and Isin where U.S. military protection was absent. The most prominent among them being the National Museum of Iraq where as much as 170,000 items were looted, including the 5,000 year old statues. In addition, several sites such as Babylon saw the destruction of its archaeology-rich subsoil as a result of military planning.
  • During the civil war ensued the 2003 invasion, several historical sites were destroyed by various groups. In 2006 and 2007, Al-Askari Mosque was bombed by Sunni militants twice in the course of two years. In 2006, the Minaret of Anah and the statue of Al-Mansur were bombed by Shia militant and destroyed. All the aforementioned buildings were later reconstructed.
  • The Islamic State (IS) destroyed much of the cultural heritage in the areas it controlled in Iraq. At least 28 religious buildings were looted and destroyed, including Shiite mosques, tombs, shrines and churches.[56] In addition, numerous ancient and medieval sites and artifacts, including the ancient cities of Nimrud and Hatra, parts of the wall of Nineveh, the ruins of Bash Tapia Castle and Dair Mar Elia, and artifacts from the Mosul Museum were also destroyed.





  • Shuri Castle, a palace of the Ryukyu Kingdom first built in the 14th century, was destroyed during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II. The Japanese forces had set up a defense perimeter which goes through the underground of the castle. U.S. military targeted this location by shelling with the battleship USS Mississippi (BB-41) for three days in May 1945. The castle burned down subsequently after. It was later reconstructed in the 1990s.
  • Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) of Kyoto, Japan was burnt down by an arsonist in 1950, but was restored in 1955.[58]
  • A large number of Important Cultural Property, libraries, museums and other archives were damaged or destroyed by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.


Numerous Albanian cultural sites in Kosovo were destroyed during the Kosovo conflict (1998–1999) which constituted a war crime violating the Hague and Geneva Conventions.[59] In all 225 out of 600 mosques in Kosovo were damaged, vandalised, or destroyed alongside other Islamic architecture and Islamic libraries and archives with records spanning 500 years.[60][61] Additionally 500 Albanian owned kulla dwellings (traditional stone tower houses) and three out of four well preserved Ottoman period urban centres located in Kosovo cities were badly damaged resulting in great loss of traditional architecture.[62][63] Kosovo's public libraries, in particular 65 out of 183 were completely destroyed with a loss of 900,588 volumes.[64][65][64] During the war, Islamic architectural heritage posed for Yugoslav Serb paramilitary and military forces as Albanian patrimony with destruction of non-Serbian architectural heritage being a methodical and planned component of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.[63][66]

NATO bombing in March–June 1999 resulted in some accidental damages to churches and a mosque. Revenge attacks against Serbian religious sites commenced following the conflict and the return of hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanian refugees to their homes.[67] According to the International Center for Transitional Justice, many Serbian cultural objects, including 155 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries, were destroyed by Kosovo Albanians between June 1999 and March 2004.[68]



  • In November 1995, a fire broke out in the Rova of Antananarivo, a royal palace complex that served as the home of monarchs in Madagascar since the 17th century. The fire destroyed or severely damaged all of its buildings.[71]


  • Candi Number 11 also known as Candi Sungai Batu Estate, a 1,200 year old ruin of a tomb-temple located in the Bujang Valley historical complex in Kedah was demolished in 2013 by housing developers who claimed not to have known the historical significance of the stone edifice.[72]


  • The destruction of the Buddhist artifacts by Islamists took place in the aftermath of the coup in which Mohamed Nasheed was toppled as President.[73] Islamist politicians entered the government which succeeded Nasheed.[74][75] On 7 February 2012,[76] The National Museum was stormed by Islamists who destroyed the Buddhist artifacts.[77][78][79][80] Most of Maldive's Buddhist physical history was obliterated.[81][82] Hindu artifacts were also targeted for obliteration and the actions have been compared to the attacks on the Buddhas by the Taliban.[83][84][85][86][87][88]


  • Parts of the World Heritage Site of Timbuktu were destroyed after the Battle of Gao in 2012, despite condemnation by UNESCO, the OIC, Mali, and France.


Large neoclassical opera house
Ruins of a neoclassical opera house
The Royal Opera House in Valletta in 1911, and its ruins in 2016. The building was destroyed by aerial bombardment in 1942.
  • A number of buildings of historical or architectural importance which had been included on the Antiquities List[89] were destroyed by aerial bombardment during World War II, including Auberge d'Auvergne, Auberge de France and the Slaves' Prison in Valletta,[90] the Clock Tower,[91] Auberge d'Allemagne[92] and Auberge d'Italie[93] in Birgu, and two out of three megalithic temples at Kordin.[94][95] Others such as Fort Manoel also suffered severe damage, but were rebuilt after the war.[96]
  • Other buildings which were not included on the Antiquities List but which had significant cultural importance were also destroyed during the war. The most notable of these was the Royal Opera House in Valletta, which is considered as "one of the major architectural and cultural projects undertaken by the British" by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage.[97]
  • The Gourgion Tower in Xewkija, which was included on the Antiquities List, was demolished by American forces in 1943 to make way for an airfield. Many of its inscriptions and decorated stones were retrieved and they are now in storage at Heritage Malta.[98]
  • Palazzo Fremaux, a building included on the Antiquities List and which was scheduled as a Grade 2 property, was gradually demolished between 1990 and 2003. The demolition was condemned by local residents, the local government and non-governmental organizations.[99][100]
  • The Azure Window, which was a 28-metre-tall (92 ft) limestone natural arch on the island of Gozo in Malta. It was located in Dwejra Bay in the limits of San Lawrenz, close to the Inland Sea and the Fungus Rock. It was one of Malta's major tourist attractions. The arch, together with other natural features in the area of Dwejra, is featured in a number of international films and other media representations. The formation was anchored on the east end by the seaside cliff, arching over open water, to be anchored to a free standing pillar in the sea to the west of the cliff. It was created when two limestone sea caves collapsed. Following years of natural erosion causing parts of the arch to fall into the sea, the arch and free standing pillar collapsed completely during a storm in March 2017.
  • Villa St Ignatius, a 19th-century villa with historical and architectural significance,[101] was partially demolished in late 2017. This was condemned by numerous non-governmental organizations and other entities.[102]



  • The 7.8 MwNepal earthquake in 2015 demolished heritages in Kathmandu valley. It destroyed centuries old medieval temples and palaces in the Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan Durbar Squares along with the tower of Dharahara, the temple of Changunarayan, some temples of the Pahupatinath complex, the main stupa of Boudhanath and the temples of Swayambhunath Stupa.[104][105]


  • The German bombing of Rotterdam, also known as the Rotterdam Blitz, that took place on the 14th of May in the year 1940 decimated most of the historical city center of the Dutch city of Rotterdam, which at the time was the 2nd largest city in the country. During the bombing hundreds of years worth of architecture and artwork were destroyed within hours.



  • The Archaeological site of Harappa which dates back to 2600 BCE was heavily damaged during the British rule in 1857. Bricks from the ruins were brought out and used as track ballast during the construction of Lahore–Multan railway line.[107] Since the discovery, the site was constantly being damaged by the local farmers in the process of turning it into an agriculture land.[108]
  • Shaheed Ganj Mosque in Lahore was demolished by the Sikhs in 1935. Sikhs had been occupying the public square near the mosque since the capture of Lahore by Bhangi Misl in the 18th century. The conflict concerning the mosque had heightened during the British colonial occupation era, as Muslims were not allowed to pray there. The demolishing of the mosque had led to the Muslims protesters holding marches toward the mosque, which was dispersed by the police opening fire on them.[109]
  • Looters and the Taliban destroyed much of Pakistan's Buddhist artifacts left over from the Buddhist Gandhara civilization especially in Swat Valley.[110] Gandhara Buddhist relics were deliberately targeted by the Taliban for destruction,[111] and illegally looted by smugglers.[112] Kushan era Buddhist stupas and statues in Swat valley, including the Jehanabad Buddha's face, were demolished by the Taliban.[113][114][115][116] The government was criticized for doing nothing to safeguard the statue after the initial attempt at destroying the Buddha, which did not cause permanent harm, and when the second attack took place on the statue the feet, shoulders, and face were demolished.[117] A rehabilitation attempt on the Buddha was made by Luca Olivieri and a group from Italy.[118][119]


The Loon Church before and after the 2013 Bohol earthquake



  • Lisbon was almost totally destroyed during the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and subsequent fire and tsunami.
  • A small section of the 19th. cent. quarter Chiado was destroyed by fire on August 25th 1988: The eighteen damaged buildings were rebuilt in the following 20 years.



The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour being demolished in 1931
Spas-na-boru Cathedral (Cathedral of the Savior in the Woods), built sometime before 1330 and demolished in 1933
The Church of Kazan Icon in Yakimanka District of Moscow, desecrated in the 1930s and gradually reduced into a storage barn, was demolished during a 1972 campaign
This 1890s building in Moscow was demolished in September 2008. The property developer was fined $1,500.[127]
  • During February–March 1944, the Soviet conducted the expulsion of the Chechens and Ingush from the North Caucasus as a part of the Soviet forced settlement program of the non-Russian ethnic minorities. The operation was resulted in the deportation of 496,000 Chechens and Ingush populations, and the death of around quarter of them. It was also accompanied by the destruction of local cultural and societal heritages; names of these nations were erased from the books and records; placenames were replaced with Russian ones; mosques were demolished; villages were razed; and the historical Nakh language manuscripts were almost completely destroyed.
  • Around 191,000 Crimean Tatars faced the deportation by the Soviets in May 1944. This was accompanied by virtual "ethnic cleansing" from the Crimea, with all the Tatar placenames being replaced with Russian ones, and the Muslim graveyards and religious objects were destroyed or converted into secular places.
  • With the change in values imposed by communist ideology, the tradition of preservation was broken. Independent preservation societies, even those that defended only secular landmarks such as Moscow-based OIRU were disbanded by the end of the 1920s. A new anti-religious campaign, launched in 1929, coincided with collectivization of peasants; destruction of churches in the cities peaked around 1932. A number of churches were demolished, including the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow and St. Michael's Cathedral in Izhevsk. Both of these were rebuilt in the 1990s and 2000s.
  • In 1959 Nikita Khrushchev launched his anti-religious campaign. By 1964 over 10 thousand churches out of 20 thousand were shut down (mostly in rural areas) and many were demolished. Of 58 monasteries and convents operating in 1959, only sixteen remained by 1964; of Moscow's fifty churches operating in 1959, thirty were closed and six demolished.
  • In Moscow alone losses of 1917–2006 are estimated at over 640 notable buildings (including 150 to 200 listed buildings, out of a total inventory of 3,500) – some disappeared completely, others were replaced with concrete replicas.
  • President Boris Yeltsin ordered the shelling of the White House, seat of the Russian government, during his 1993 consolidation of power, causing a large fire and considerable damage to the top floors.
  • 'Mephistopheles', figure on a St Petersburg building on Lakhtinksaya Street known as the House with Mephistopheles, smashed by a fundamentalist Orthodox group in 2015.[128][129][130]
  • The original buildings of Metrowagonmash plant, founded by Savva Mamontov in 1897 and built in Russian Gothic style, were demolished between 2016 and 2019 to make way for block houses.

Saudi Arabia[edit]

  • Various mosques and other historic sites, especially those relating to early Islam, have been destroyed in Saudi Arabia. Apart from early Islamic sites, other buildings such as the Ajyad Fortress were also destroyed. This is done for economic reasons, to create room to accommodate hajj pilgrims (including luxury facilities for wealthy guests), as well as for ideological reasons related to the iconoclastic religious doctrine of the state Wahhabi sect.



South Korea[edit]

  • Hwangnyongsa, a massive Buddhist temple in Gyeongju which dates back to the 7th century, was burned down by the Mongolians during their invasion in 1238.
  • Hundreds of Buddhist monasteries were shut down or destroyed during the Joseon period as a part of anti-Buddhism policy. In 1407, during the reign of Taejong, the regulations were imposed on the number of Buddhist temples which limited to 88.[133] Sejong the Great further reduced the number to 36.[134][133] Many Buddhist statues were also destroyed during the reign of Jungjong (1506–1544).
  • Namdaemun was damaged by fire caused by arson in 2008. It reopened in 2013.


  • Because of the Ecclesiastical confiscations of Mendizábal, secularization of church properties in 1835–1836, several hundreds of church buildings, monasteries, etc., or civil buildings owned by the Church were partly or totally demolished. Many of the art works, libraries and archives contained were lost or pillaged in the time the buildings were abandoned and without owners. Among them were important buildings as Santa Caterina convent (the first gothic building in Iberian Peninsula) and Sant Francesc convent (gothic too, one of the richest in the country), both in Barcelona, or San Pedro de Arlanza Roman monastery, near Burgos, now ruined.
  • Several monuments demolished in Calatayud: the church of Convent of Dominicos of San Pedro Mártir (1856), Convent of Trinidad (1856), Church of Santiago (1863), Church of San Torcuato and Santa Lucía (1869) and Church of San Miguel (1871).[135]
  • The leaning Torre Nueva in Zaragoza was demolished in 1892 amidst fears that it would topple.[135]
  • Churches, monasteries, convents and libraries were destroyed during the Spanish Civil War.[136]
  • A Virxe da Barca sanctuary, located in Muxia, was destroyed by lightning.[137]

Sri Lanka[edit]

  • The Palace of King Parakramabahu I of Polonnaruwa was set into fire by the Kalinga Magha lead Indian invaders in the 11th century. The ruins and the effect of the fire is still visible.[138]
  • The Library of Jaffna, which had over 97,000 manuscripts, was burned in 1981, in 1981 as a part of Sri Lankan war.


  • Tre Kronor, main residence of the Swedish Kings, destroyed by fire in 1697. Several important documents of the history of Sweden were lost in the fire.
  • Klarakvarteren, a part of Stockholm from the 17th century. It was demolished in the 1960–70.



  • Library of Antioch, ordered destroyed by Roman Emperor Jovian in 363 AD.
  • The Aleppo Codex, the authoritative Hebrew bible text, was partially destroyed during anti-Jewish riots in Syria in 1948.
Minaret of the Great Mosque of Aleppo, destroyed in fighting in 2013.


  • The city of Carthage was destroyed by Roman Forces in the third and final Punic War in 146 BC by arson, and fragments of buildings still remain.


  • The Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was destroyed by arson in 356 BC. It was later rebuilt, but it was damaged in a raid by Goths in 268 AD. Its stones were subsequently used in other buildings, including Hagia Sophia and other buildings in Constantinople. A few fragments of the structure still survive in situ.
  • The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, another Wonder of the Ancient World, was destroyed by a series of earthquakes between the 12th and 15th centuries. Most of the remaining marble blocks were burnt into lime, but some were used in the construction of Bodrum Castle by the Knights Hospitaller, where they can still be seen today. The only other surviving remains of the mausoleum are some foundations in situ, a few sculptures in the British Museum, and some marble blocks which were used to build a dockyard in Malta's Grand Harbour.
  • During the events of the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath, the abandonment and confiscation of Armenian monasteries and cultural heritage in places such as Ani has contributed to their eventual destruction. In 1974, UNESCO stated that after 1923, out of 913 Armenian historical monuments left in Eastern Turkey, 464 have vanished completely, 252 are in ruins, and 197 are in need of repair.[144] In 2011, there were 34 Armenian churches functioning in Turkey, primarily in Istanbul.[145]



(a category about lost and destroyed heritage of Ukraine in the Ukrainian Wikipedia)

United Kingdom[edit]

Large exhibition centre
Ruins of a large exhibition centre
Site of a large exhibition centre, now a park
The Crystal Palace in London in 1854; its burnt-out ruins in 1936; and the site in 2008

United States[edit]

The main waiting room of New York City's Pennsylvania Station c. 1911. The station was largely demolished in 1963.


  • In 1969, an original Flag of the Treinta y Tres from the Cisplatine War was stolen from the history museum. The national symbol was taken on July 16, 1969 by a revolutionary group called OPR-33. The historical flag was last seen in 1975 in Buenos Aires but has been considered missing since the day of its theft. This is still a matter of political debate.[156][157]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What is meant by "cultural heritage"?". UNESCO. Archived from the original on 16 March 2016.
  2. ^ Stenning, Stephen (21 August 2015). "Destroying cultural heritage: more than just material damage". British Council. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
  3. ^ Porter, Lizzie (23 July 2015). "Destruction of Middle East's heritage is 'cultural genocide'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  4. ^ Sehmer, Alexander (5 October 2015). "Isis guilty of 'cultural cleansing' across Syria and Iraq, Unesco chief Irina Bokova says". The Independent. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  5. ^ World Archaeological Congress and Agnew, Neville, and Bridgland, Janet (2006). Neville Agnew; Janet Bridgland (eds.). Of the past, for the future: integrating archaeology and conservation: proceedings of the conservation theme at the 5th World Archaeological Congress, Washington, D.C., 22–26 June 2003. Los Angeles, Calif.: Getty Conservation Institute. p. 249.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Piotto, Alba (27 June 1997). "Derriban un puente histórico al construir una autopista". Clarín (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ Кавказский календарь на 1870 год. Тифлис, типография Главного Управления Наместника Кавказского. 1869. p. 392.
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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]